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This section provides a discussion of criteria for evaluating methodologies, a discussion of why evaluations are needed, and dentities of currently available ethodologies. Then evaluations of those investigation methdologies are presented or referenced.
Evaluation criteria reflect underlying concepts about both the investigation process and the phenomena being investgated.
Comments are invited, and cn be posted on the AIPRE, or submitted to me for posting here.
What is an Investigation Methodology?
First, we need to decide what a Methodology is. Like the term scientific method, it is perceived in differently ways in different organizations. Appendix A shows the diversity of perceptions with a list of 24 different thoughts about what a methodology is from a variety of academic, government, corporate and privates sources. For investigation process research and evaluation purposes, I have highlighted what I believe are useful elements for defining a methodology.
- research procedures used (the "why" for a methodology - should have a methodology for research, which is what an accident investigation really is)
- approach, strategy, and methods (the intellectual foundation for a methodology - conceptually, it should be based on an integrating approach and strategy)
- system of principles, practices, and procedures (what a methodology is - this is one I have used for prior research; the principles provide the intellectual foundation for development of a methodology and are an essential component )
- system of methods followed in a particular discipline (more of what it is - not a method but system of methods)
- documented approach for performing activities in a coherent, consistent, accountable, and repeatable manner (more of what it is - a methodology is "formalized" by documenting it, so other users can achieve verifiable results when they use it)
- organised, documented (more of what it is - a methodology can't just be an unorganized, unintegrated jumble of methods or procedures,
- A set of procedures or methods used to conduct research (more of what it is - it incorporrates a set of procedures or methods rather than just a single procedure or method)
Methodology is sometimes used synonymously with "method", particularly a complex method or body of methods, rules, and postulates employed by a discipline. Some usage arbiters regard this usage as pretentious and questionable. (more of what it is - but don't confuse method with methodology)
In software engineering and project management, a methodology is a codified set of practices (sometimes accompanied by training materials, formal educational programs, worksheets, and diagramming tools) that may be repeatably carried out to produce software. (more of what its elements are)
- methods, procedures, and techniques used to collect and analyze information (what imethodology does)
collect, store, analyse and present information; a research process. (more of what it has to do - methodology has to provide for presentation of informate it generates)
- Proven (it has to have been shown to work)
- knowledge organisation methodology (more of what it has to do -provide for the organization of information which it uses)
These snippets from Appendix A can be consolidated into criteria for deciding whether something presented as an investigation methodology actually is a methodology. A methodology must
- be based on a intellecual framework that ties all the practices and procedures of the methodology into an internally consistent and mutually supportive whole.
be documented or "formalized" so all users can achieve coherent, consistent, accountable and repeatable results.
address the acquisition, documentaiton,
Investigation Methodology Evaluations:
I want to run a "good" incident investigation program. What investigation methodology should I specify for my program. What choices are available? What would be my best choice? How can I tell which is "the best" for me?
The answers depend on, among other considerations,
 Benner, L., ACCIDENT THEORY AND ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION, Proceedings of the Annual Seminar of the Society of Air Investigators, Ottawa, Canada, 1975 existing theories, process charting and application and expectations of theory.
Examples of perceptions of "methodology" including highlighted elements referenced in Section I.